Every game in the Big East is important, but the Pirates really could have used a win over Marquette on Saturday. However, they did not and in the 24 hours following the game we may have discovered the underlying problems with a Seton Hall team that has lost six of their last nine games.
The Pirates came into the game looking to sweep Marquette and then found out just before tip that Golden Eagles’ star Matt Carlino would be out with a concussion. Despite not having to deal with their opponent’s best player, the Pirates really struggled to deal with the interior presence of Marquette's big men. The Hall made a last-minute run, but it was too little too late and now some are questioning the effort of the team.
Isaiah Whitehead returned to action last week, but the Pirates are now 1-2 with him back on the court. Who saw that after he scored 19 points in the win over Xavier in his return? Some players did step up for the Pirates, but they were stagnant on offense and could not battle inside. Seton Hall should have easily won the rematch at The Rock, but now find themselves close to hitting the panic button. Let’s dive deeper into Seton Hall’s issues.
The Pirates looked lifeless on the floor to start the game as Marquette jumped out to a 17-4 lead before anyone could blink their eyes. Seton Hall made just one field goal during the opening minutes and scored only 22 first half points at home.
Marquette shot just under 47 percent from the field as The Hall shot just over 30 percent from the floor. The offense was stagnant and on numerous occasions the team missed easy looks around the basket.
The Golden Eagles trashed Seton Hall inside as they outscored the Pirates 42-22 inside of the paint. Luke Fischer and Steve Taylor Jr. were instrumental in the upset.
Seton Hall only led for 24 seconds in the game as Marquette was able to hold onto the big lead they built after falling behind 3-2 within the first two minutes. The Golden Eagles deserve credit.
One bright spot for the Pirates was that they continued to defend the three-point line well as they only surrendered one three ball out of 10 attempts by Marquette. Despite bad interior defending, which has been an "Achilles Heel" according to Coach Kevin Willard, they defended the perimeter pretty well.
Seton Hall, especially in the first half, relied heavily on three-point looks and ended up hitting 7-18 from deep, but they could not knock down looks from anywhere on the floor consistently.
The Pirates went 11-20 from the free throw line and missed some huge opportunities to cut the lead, especially in the first half.
The Hall was outscored 14-9 in bench points as the starters were once again tasked with carrying much of the load.
Seton Hall outrebounded Marquette 40-36, despite having trouble inside the paint.
By the end of the first half, three Pirates had picked up three fouls and the team seemed less aggressive until the beginning of the second half, but it was not consistent.
The Blue and White had 15 fast break points, but should have had more against a Marquette team that struggles defensively.
On the court, there are obviously some problems that need to be worked out, but after the game we have found out that the problems may have stemmed from issues off of it.
Sterling Gibbs continued his solid season with 16 points and single-handedly kept The Hall in the game late. He made some crucial hustle plays, but did miss the three pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. All in all, another good performance by the leader of the team.
Isaiah Whitehead took a step back and that is probably an understatement. He shot 1-11 from the field and finished with as many points (3) as turnovers. After the game, Whitehead told reporters that he still has a lot of work to do. I would agree, coupled with the fact that he is trying to do too much while he is out on the floor.
Khadeen Carrington only had five points and had trouble penetrating the Marquette front line to get to the paint. He needs to be a spark on this team and has shown us he can do that. If he can get back to that The Hall will be in good shape going forward.
The rebounds keep on piling up for Angel Delgado. He had 12 of them along with six points. Talk about his immaturity all you want, but the kid always battles on the glass no matter what.
Brandon Mobley had six points and five rebounds. For those that do not know, after games Mobley is the player that many go to for quotes because he tells it like it is and is not shy, after all he is a senior. Once again, he gave us the quote of the week when he told reporters, "We’ve got to find a will, right now there’s no will. Everybody is just out there, nobody cares about winning anymore, sadly." He went on to say that things "go south" when they lose and that is not what good teams do. This a young team that needs to stick together and Mobley gave us an inside look at the pulse of the current locker room.
Desi Rodriguez had six points and seven rebounds. He continues to show that with Whitehead back he can make an impact and it showed again. Despite the turmoil, Rodriguez is slowly becoming more consistent. Along with Gibbs, Rodriguez was aggressive during the late game comeback.
Jaren Sina was a surprise as he scored 12 points on four three pointers. In the first half, Sina kept the Pirates in the game and even showed some passion at times. The Hall need to see him do that on a consistent basis.
The thin frontcourt of the Pirates needs some help from the bench, but players like Rashed Anthony and Chier Ajou have been so bad that Ismael Sanogo, who is extremely raw, went into the game when Mobley was in early foul trouble. It would be nice to see Haralds Karlis and Stephane Manga help out as well in order to take the pressure off of players like Gibbs and others who play so many minutes.
Wrapping it all up
The way The Hall played, coupled with the comments from Mobley and others, it is clear that Seton Hall is dealing with some major problems here. Many have told me that Coach Kevin Willard should be at fault for what has gone wrong during this stretch. One thing is for certain, this has been happening for a while now with this team. Egos have gotten in the way and Coach Willard has to figure out how to fix these problems and soon. The tough schedule ahead is troublesome for the Pirates, but it also allows them to play and beat quality teams, which we have seen this team do.
Seton Hall has the talent to beat anyone in the Big East, but the time is now to turn the season around. Coach Willard should have prevented these problems or taken care of them sooner, but he has a good job coaching this team on the court this season. Off the court, we will see how he handles the situation. The Pirates still have a lot to play for, but not much time to fix the issues.
Next up, the Blue and White are at home against Georgetown, which helps because they are 9-3 at Prudential Center this season. They have a two-game winning streak against the Hoyas and will look to contain 6-foot-10, 350-pound Joshua Smith in the post. If he breaks out and has a big game, The Hall will be in huge trouble. Can the Pirates turn it around? We will not know for sure until Tuesday, but at this point it is anybody’s guess how well they will play in a game that could be vital to their season. It is not panic time for The Hall, but guts better be checked by Tuesday night.